Trump to delay State of the Union until after shutdown

President Trump said late Wednesday that he would deliver his State of the Union address after the ongoing partial government shutdown is over.

“As the Shutdown was going on, [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative — I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

{mosads}Trump, in a subsequent tweet, expanded on earlier statements suggesting he may do an “alternative” State of the Union, writing that he was not seeking another venue because “there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.”

“I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!” he added.

Trump’s move to delay delivering the annual address capped off a day of terse tit-for-tat feuding between the president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the speech and the partial government shutdown, which entered its 33rd day on Wednesday.

Pelosi earlier Wednesday said she would block Trump from delivering the State of the Union in the House chamber until the government reopens. The president was scheduled to deliver the speech on Jan. 29. 

In a letter to Trump, the Democratic leader said she would not move forward with the legislative steps needed for the address to take place, adding that she would invite the president to deliver his speech “on a mutually agreeable date” but only “when government has been opened.”

Pelosi’s letter came hours after Trump informed her in his own letter that he would move ahead and deliver the address at the Capitol on the scheduled day, challenging the Speaker to scrap his plans.

“Nancy Pelosi — or Nancy, as I call her — she doesn’t want to hear the truth,” Trump told reporters at the White House, calling Pelosi’s decision “a great, great horrible mark” for the country.

“I don’t believe it’s ever happened before. And it’s always good to be a part of history, but this is a very negative part of history,” he said.

Pelosi first invited Trump to deliver his address on Jan. 3, shortly after reclaiming the Speaker’s gavel. She explained her decision to rescind the invitation in the letter to Trump, saying “there was no thought that the government would still be shut down” when she invited him to speak.

Pelosi requested last week that Trump delay his address, citing security concerns related to the shutdown. The Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service, which develop security plans for the speech, are among the agencies operating without funding.

Trump dismissed the Speaker’s concerns, saying he was told by administration officials that the event would be secure and adding that he wanted to deliver the address as previously scheduled.

“It would be so very sad for our country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” he wrote.

The shutdown began on Dec. 22 amid an impasse between lawmakers and Trump over his demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding. The Senate on Thursday is scheduled to consider two dueling plans to end the shutdown, which has left roughly 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay.

Pelosi, responding to Trump’s announcement late Wednesday, said she hoped he would support the House-passed Democratic bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8.

“Mr. President, I hope by saying ‘near future’ you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow,” she tweeted. “Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences.”

Updated at 11:54 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi
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